The Hardest Chinese Characters 最难写的汉字
Some Chinese learners start learning the language by only studying Pinyin; but at some point sooner or later you will notice that you cannot get around learning how to read and write Chinese characters 汉字. When learning 汉字 most Chinese students start with the simple 我，你，很好 etc. which are usually very easy to memorize within a couple of lessons.
Then there are harder characters you need to write over and over again – like in first grade.
Lastly, there are the hardest Chinese characters that are so difficult, not even Chinese people can write or have ever heard of them.
How to Learn Chinese Online
Taking language lessons online has never been easier. I have been taking 1:1 Mandarin lessons with certified teachers from Instant Mandarin.
Instant Mandarin is an online Mandarin learning platform providing fun and quality 1-to-1 online lessons with certified Chinese tutors at affordable prices, for adults and kids (ages 5+).
What you can get with Instant Mandarin:
- 1-to-1 online live lessons (conducted through their own online video platform)
- Certified Professional Chinese Tutors
- Learn Chinese from anywhere, including your own home
- Flexibility: find a tutor that is available and start learning!
- Tailored curriculum suited to your level and learning purpose
- Downloadable Lesson review material
If you’re interested, book your free trial lesson today!
Here are the top 7 hardest Chinese characters:
This character is pronunced cuàn (4th tone) and means oven, cooking stove or cook. This character is really hard to write since it consists of 29 strokes.
This character is pronunced nàng (4th) tone. This character has a very interesting meaning: “stoppage of the nose, causing one to speak with a nasal twang”. Its 36 strokes make nàng the fourth hardest Chinese character.
Spoken “tà”, this character expresses “the appearance of a dragon walking”, simplified version of “the appearance of a dragon in flight”. Tà consists of a total of 48 strokes and is extremely hard to write.
This character is pronounced “bèng” and is used to describe the sound of thunder (also: roar of thunder; thunderclaps, very loud sounds). With 52 strokes, it is one of the hardest Chinese characters to write.
Some of you might know this character already. It is pronounced “biáng” and considered one of the hardest Chinese characters ever (58 strokes). It’s meaning is very interesting. Biáng describes a type of noodle popular in China’s Shaanxi province. The noodles, touted as one of the “ten strange wonders of Shaanxi” (Chinese: 陕西十大怪), are described as being like a belt, owing to their thickness and length.
Even though the character is still used in contemporary Chinese, the Character biáng cannot be typed with a computer. It is simply replaced by 彪彪面 biāobiāo miàn or 冰冰面 bīngbīng miàn.
The character is composed of 言 (speak; 7 strokes) in the middle flanked by 幺 (tiny; 2×3 strokes) on both sides. Below it, 馬 (horse; 10 strokes) is similarly flanked by 長 (grow; 2×8 strokes). This central block itself is surrounded by 月 (moon; 4 strokes) to the left, 心 (heart; 4 strokes) below, 刂 (knife; 2 strokes) on the right, and 八 (eight; 2 strokes) above. These in turn are surrounded by a second layer of characters, namely 宀 (roof; 3 strokes) on the top and 辶 (walk; 4 strokes) curving around the left and bottom. Wikipedia
Even though a lot of times “biáng” is described as being the hardest Chinese character ever, there is an even more complex one: the Chinese character for exorcism. I was even unable to find the Chinese pronunciation as well as a computer character for it. So if you know how to pronounce it, please let me know. This character has 60 strokes!
This character seems to be the hardest character that can still be read.
It is the ancient character for thunder. However, its complexity is debated since it is the same character put together four times.
This character has 160 strokes!
There is more…
The Chinese character for exorcism is not the character with the most strokes. There are two characters with as many as 64 strokes! However, the complexity of those two characters is highly doubted since it is 4 times the same character which consists of 16 strokes.
( zhé – verbose) composed of 龍 lóng (lit. “dragon”) and zhèng composed of 興 xīng/xìng (lit. “flourish”).
Do you know another incredibly hard character?
Which is your personal most difficult character?
No matter how complex Chinese characters may seem, they are not impossible to learn/write. I hope this post won’t deter anyone from studying Chinese since they are rather examples of the ultimate complexity of the Chinese character history.
You might also like these articles:
Get your Free Seoul City Check List
This downloadable check list for Seoul contains insider information on what to see, do, eat and where to shop and party in Seoul, South Korea.